Vacaville family flees home overnight as Hennessey Fire inched closer: 'We just grabbed a bunch of clothes and jumped in the truck'

"(We) went to sleep, not thinking there was any concern, got a call around 1:30 from a concerned neighbor that the fire was getting closer," Gus Valerian said.
OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- It's a scenario all too familiar for Bay Area residents in recent years. As wildfires rage on and temperatures rise during this week's heat wave, many across the the greater Bay Area are forced to gather their belongings and leave their homes, unsure of when they might return.

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Gus Valerian, his wife Kersti and their 3-year-old twins, Lincoln and Emmy, awoke early Wednesday morning to knocking on the door of their Vacaville home.

It was time to evacuate as fire inched closer to their neighborhood at Pleasants Valley Road and Vaca Valley Road.

"(We) went to sleep, not thinking there was any concern, got a call around 1:30 from a concerned neighbor that the fire was getting closer," Gus said.

Around 2 a.m., the fire department came knocking, meaning it was time to leave their 16-acre property on the outskirts of the city.

This image shows Gus and Kersti Valerian and their two toddlers. They evacuated their home overnight on Aug. 19, 2020 as fire spread into Vacaville, Calif.

This image shows Gus and Kersti Valerian and their two toddlers. They evacuated their home overnight on Aug. 19, 2020 as fire spread into Vacaville, Calif.


"We just grabbed a bunch of clothes and jumped in the truck, got the cats and dogs and headed off to Oakland," he said.

Gus believes the horse stables on their property are OK as of Wednesday afternoon, though some pear trees may have been damaged.

Gus lives at the home with his wife and kids.

Theirs is one of many threatened by the Hennessey Fire, one of the wildfires collectively known as the LNU Lightning Complex Fire burning in the North Bay and into Vacaville.

Flames are seen as a family flees from their home in Vacaville, Calif. on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020.

Flames are seen as a family flees from their home in Vacaville, Calif. on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020.

Gus Valerian


This complex fire is estimated at more than 46,000 acres with no containment, according to CAL FIRE.

The Hennessey Fire started in Napa County, extending into Vacaville in Solano County.

Dozens of homes have burned in the city's English Hills neighborhood.

Earlier Wednesday morning, Vacaville's fire chief said 4,000 to 4,500 homes were threatened on the west and northwest side of the city.

RELATED: Bay Area air quality worst in the world as wildfires rage in all but one county

An evacuation order was issued earlier Wednesday for residents west of Blue Ridge Road to Highway 505, north of Cherry Glen Road to Highway 128.

Other evacuation orders are in place at Rancho Solano, Rockville Road, Suisun Valley Road, Gordon Valley Road, Wooden Valley Road, Clayton Road, Mankas Corner, Shelton Lane, West Browns Valley Road.

Solano County residents with questions about evacuations related to the LNU fires can call (707) 784-1634 or (707) 784-1635, the sheriff's department said.

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Get the latest updates and videos on the Hennessey Fire here.

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